COPPERAS COVE — Like a scene straight from the civil rights movement of the 1960s, several residents marched arm in arm on Farm-to-Market 116 on Monday while singing traditional church hymns to commemorate the life of Martin Luther King Jr.

It was the 15th year that Bible Way Missionary Baptist Church has held its MLK birthday commemoration and one it plans to continue for future generations.

The Rev. George Blake, 57, an associate minister for the church, grew up during the era when blacks and whites endured segregation as they ate, voted and worshipped.

Blake said seeing MLK push for equality gave him hope to pursue his dreams.

“When you think about Dr. King, he stood for equality for all people,” he said. “It was for every race.”

In 1974, segregation was over, but Blake, who grew up in Lane, S.C., said back then equality didn’t exist for everyone. He recalled an incident when he was 16, and he and his teammates stopped for a meal.

“As soon as we exited the bus to go inside, the lady locked the door and put a sign in the window,” he said, further explaining that the sign had a word on it he doesn’t like to use. “Having a white coach and a white person on our team, I thought we would have come further than that.”

Joe Burns, Copperas Cove school superintendent, spoke at a program held after the walk Monday.

“Education is truly one of the great equalizers,” he said.

“We teach these precepts, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. Dr. King may be gone from this place, but his concepts live in all of us.”

Dr. William M. Campbell, Anderson Chapel AME Church pastor, urgedpeople to cherish the vision and opportunities set before them. “In this season, when we commemorate the most prolific dreamer, ‘Don’t forget your dream,’” Campbell said. “Sometimes we live and work every day to fulfill somebody else’s dream and we forget what God told us to do.”

To reach Azeita Taylor, the Copperas Cove Herald office at 254-501-7476.

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